Audrey, Aggie and Me has been a business success story in Narrandera and now it will broaden its horizons into Leeton.
Sharyn Rowlands has built the Audrey, Aggie and Me business and is now taking over Leeton shop Two Friends.
“I’ve had a lot to do with it, I’ve taught there and I’ve definitely shopped there,” said Ms Rowlands. “We did a workshop retreat in April earlier this year and that was good. I’ve had lots of dealings with them over the last couple of years.
“The owners decided that this was it and I told them I was very interested, and it just went from there.”
Two Friends sells patchwork fabric, but it also sells gifts, sewing machines and coffee.
“The owners have had it for about ten years. They’ve grown it, so they’re quite wrapt that I’ve taken that on. They’re still going to be involved – especially initially during the transition period. Some of the staff are still going to be there,” Ms Rowlands said.
“There’ll still be friendly faces; there’ll still be coffee and the cakes. People either come to have a coffee or a cake, or they come to do a class. That’s what I’m going to do next year; more classes and clubs. It’s going to be a busy year.”
Ms Rowlands will celebrate taking on the new shop next year.
“We’re going to have a grand opening on February 1. There’ll be wine and nibbles. We’re starting planning for that.”
Audrey, Aggie and Me grew out of a small business that Ms Rowlands had on the side of her normal employment, to a pop-up shop, to a bricks and mortar store in East Street. Everything for sale is made in-house and made locally.
“We’ve got seven other creators in here. We have the candles and the gardens, and Terry, and Amanda. There’s Not So Plain Jane, who does the laminated fabrics, bags and that sort of stuff. It’s been a learning curve for me, managing a shop with not just what I’m doing, but other creators as well.
“That’s how we started, as a pop up shop that just grew. It’s really good to see others come and do the same thing, the pop up concept is great.”
This pop-up model seems to work in Narrandera. Yarn By the River initially began as a pop-up shop, as did Second Chance Furniture, according to Ms Rowlands. Currently a slew of local businesses have come together for the pop-up shop Made. in East Street in time for the Christmas rush.
Two businesses aren’t quite enough for Ms Rowlands.
“I’ve got published patterns as well; I do that through Millhouse Collections in Queensland. They’ve been a great support; they actually started me with my patterns, as a mentor. Lindsay from Sew to Grow is mentoring me now with my design business and as I’m progressing.
“I’ve had my family and my friends and all the local community supporting what we do. Everyone’s been so encouraging, whether it’s by coming in here or coming to a class or being at the markets. It’s been really good. And it keeps me wanting to do more – to own a patchwork shop is another step,” Ms Rowlands said.